Parish of St. Vincent Ferrer and St. Catherine of Siena

A Parish of the Archdiocese of New York served by the Dominican Friars

January 14, 2017

Upcoming Parish Events (January 15, 2017)

Fr. Walter has invited me to write this bulletin letter so that I can share with you information about two initiatives our parish is undertaking in the coming weeks: our Spring Parish Study program and our parish’s events for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

Parish Study

The Church’s liturgy sometimes feels mysterious. On one hand, this is fitting for what is, at heart, a participation in the Paschal Mystery of Christ’s Death, Resurrection, and Ascension. On the other hand, when we are mystified by the words and actions employed we can at times be distracted from the task at hand of entering into that Mystery more deeply – mysteries can obscure the Mystery. By learning why the liturgy employs the words and gestures that we
encounter from week to week or from day to day, we can enter into the Mass with the conscious and active
participation that Church desires for each member of the faithful.

This Spring, our Parish Study program aims to help members of our parish to come to a better understanding of the Mass, so that we may more fully follow St. Paul’s exhortation to “pray with understanding” (1 Cor 14:15). Meeting each Tuesday evening in the St. Vincent Ferrer Parish Hall from 6:45-7:45 pm, the twelve week class will give an
overview of the parts of the Mass that we encounter each week: the “Ordinary of the Mass,” which consists of the texts that we recite each week (e.g. the Lord have mercy, Glory to God in the highest, Lamb of God, etc.) and the “Propers of the Mass” which change from week to week (entrance chant, collect, readings, etc.). The class will be taught by me together with our director of music, James Wetzel. Each week we will consider different aspects of the words, actions, and music we encounter in the Mass. Our first meeting will take place on Tuesday, January 17, where James and I will give an overview of the Outline of the Mass and the Seasons of the Year, and will continue each Tuesday until April 4. You are most welcome to attend each class or to drop in from time to time as your schedule allows.

In the Middle Ages, an unknown author wrote a treatise on the liturgy called the Liber Quare – the “Book of Why?” In this book, the author posed a series of questions as to “Why” such and such was done in the liturgy. In the spirit of this inquiry, I’d like to invite you to submit your own questions about the liturgy by email to or in written form to the Parish Office. James and I can then draw on these specific questions as we prepare our talks over the course of the class sessions.

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

Each year, the Catholic Church dedicates the week of January 18–25 to praying for Christian Unity, alongside other Christian churches and communities. Last year, our parish hosted a special series of events to commemorate and
participate in this Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, including a lecture on St. Catherine and St. Vincent in the
context of the Western Schism and a Holy Hour for Christian Unity. This year, we’ll host another series of events at both churches as well as with our neighbors at St. John Nepomucene. The full schedule can be found on the front page of the bulletin, but I’d like to draw your attention to three special events.

On Thursday, January 19 at St. Vincent Ferrer, we’ll celebrate a 6 pm Sung Votive Mass for Christian Unity followed by a 7 pm lecture on Christian Unity and Evangelization by Dr. Christopher Ruddy. Dr. Ruddy was one of my professors at Catholic University of America during my graduate studies in Washington, DC, and he is a man of great wisdom and insight into the nature of the Church and the mystery of Christian unity. His talk will draw on the seminal text of John 17, focusing on the phrase “That The World May Believe,” signaling the relation in the mind of Christ between the unity of Christians and the effectiveness of their participation in Christ’s mission of evangelization.

On Friday, January 20 at St. Vincent Ferrer, we’ll host an evening of Lutheran – Catholic Prayer, focused on the theme of music and Christian unity. Pastor Gregory Fryer of Immanuel Lutheran Church will speak on music in the
Lutheran tradition, while I will speak on music in the Catholic tradition. In addition, we’ll have the chance to hear beautiful organ music from Lutheran and Catholic composers played by James Wetzel.

On Monday, January 23, we’ll celebrate a 5:15 pm Sung Votive Mass for Giving Thanks for the Gift of Human Life at
St. Catherine of Siena, followed by a 7 pm Orthodox – Catholic Prayer service at St. John Nepomucene. The latter event will include a talk by Sr. Virginia Joy, one of the Sisters of Life at the Visitation Mission on 71st Street, as well as a talk by His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon, Primate of the Orthodox Church in America. These events will be a wonderful opportunity to give thanks to God for the gifts of unity and life, and ask him to make us instruments of hope and
healing in the midst of the difficulties we and our society experience in these areas.

Yours in the unity of Christ,

Fr. Innocent Smith, op